Space For Rent

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Sraban 8, 1421, Ramadan 24, 1435 Hijr

SAARC Sectt may be relocated to new site in Nepal
Saleem Samad back from Kathmandu
Publish Date : 2014-07-23,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 175
The Nepalese government is planning to relocate the Secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to a spacious location in Kathmandu, away from the congested site it is now housed.
Secretariat officials hope to find a suitable location before the 18th SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in Kathmandu in November this year. An announcement on the new site is expected to be made at the upcoming summit.
They said the SAARC Secretariat may be shifted from Tridevi Marg, Thamel, to a location within Kathmandu Valley, where it would be renamed SAARC Village.
"The present location of the SAARC Secretariat is congested. We are planning to relocate it," said Bharat Kumar Regmi, assistant spokesman of the Secretariat, to The Bangladesh Observer.
The building arranged by the government in 1987 falls close to a busy tourist area, Thamel, which does not have enough parking space inside the Secretariat.
Earlier Nepal made commitments in various SAARC forums to search for a spacious area for the Secretariat and residences for its senior officials.
In the Secretariat complex, the Village will house the official residences of the SAARC Secretary General and eight directors representing each member state with some recreational facilities.
The scattered rented apartments of the Secretary General and Directors have cost the regional group a huge budget, said the official, adding that the facility would be a way for the members to cut expenses.
Earlier the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu refuted an Indian media report suggesting plans to shift the SAARC Secretariat from Kathmandu to New Delhi.
In its June 29 edition, The Times of India reported that the Indian government was planning to relocate the SAARC's Secretariat from Kathmandu to New Delhi and going to build a "multi-storeyed headquarters" for the same in its capital.
SAARC Secretariat pays around Nepali Rs 25 million (BDT 19.87million) in rent every year to accommodate its senior officials.
Officials in the SAARC Secretariat, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, however, expressed ignorance over the matter. "So far, no proposal has been forwarded by the Indian side that is related to the relocation of SAARC's Secretariat from Kathmandu to New Delhi," one official said.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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